"We carry a new world here, in our hearts. That world is growing in this minute."
Dear Governor Brown,
As a former instructor at UCLA, I am gravely disturbed about the recent violence against students and protestors at the UC Davis campus, the UC Berkeley campus, in Oakland, and in other public places all over California. Growing up in the Civil Rights Era South, I witnessed many similar examples of terrible violence against regular people marching or sitting in for their rights. California people traditionally embrace and greatly value human rights and the dignity of every human being. That ideal was one essential reason that I moved with my family to California thirty years ago.
Those students at UC Davis were doing nothing dangerous, threatening or disruptive. The same for the students at Berkeley. The same for the Occupy people (mostly students) in Oakland and elsewhere. Why are the police allowed to get so violent? What authority controls the various police forces that have acted so violently? What do they fear from unarmed citizens standing and sitting in protest against economic and social problems in our state? What do the UC Davis administrators fear so much from fifty or so students hanging out in the quad? In that UC Davis case there were about as many police officers as there were students. What does the Mayor of Oakland fear from people gathering to protest in a public park? For those people in authority, what are their reasons for allowing violence to happen?
The police in Davis brutalized those kids. The police in Berkeley harassed and billy-clubbed those kids. The Oakland police by order of Mayor Quan attacked the Occupy people there. No matter what distorted justification their advisors come up with, these authorities are simply wrong in allowing this to happen. This kind of behavior is psychopathic.
Certainly you know the meaning of our Constitution's First Amendment: "... the right of the people peaceably to assemble. ..." As Governor you possess ultimate executive authority in California, so action is now necessary. Please ask the authorities who allowed the violence to hand in their resignations immediately.
Please take action now to protect the Occupy people statewide. Their voices for social justice need to be heard.
We are California. We must hold the highest standard for democracy.